Skye Rayburn, a somewhat eccentric but well-respected veterinarian, always had a troubled relationship with her daughter Moira. When Moira is killed in a car accident, Skye has no choice but to take in her two-year-old grandson Duncan. Maybe this time she will "get it right." Over the years, Skye creates a diary: Life Lessons for Duncan. This diary, a surreal blend of fact and fiction, catalogues human and animal characteristics—their similarities and differences, as well as their complex interdependencies, which she hopes will help Duncan understand his now-homeless father, his mother's death and her own heartbreaking secrets. As her story unfolds we learn how her life choices have, at times, contradicted her alleged love of c hildren and animals. In the summer of 2011, Skye, now 91, finds herself alone when Duncan is invited to show his art at the Edinburgh Festival. Skye must make peace with what she's done and Duncan must to come to terms with who he is.